Monday, February 27, 2006

The Millionaire Next Door

I just re-read Thomas J. Stanley's 'The Millionaire Next Door'. This book shares with its readers the surprising habits, beliefs and attitudes of the 'millionaire' who could be living right next door to you. If you've ever wondered, why am I not rich, when (insert name) is? - this book is for you.

I re-read the book because, in the 700,201st effort to re-do my finances, I needed to be reminded of the basic tenets of saving money, the pay-off of entrepreneurship and the value in controlling your budget instead of allowing it to control you. I classify the discovered habits of the rich as 'surprising' because I found them to be just that. The book quickly puts to rest the notion of the well-to-do person as a jet-setting, richly clad, spendthrift kind of person. The 'average' millionaire profiled in this book in fact lived a very frugal lifestyle, did not generally spend a lot of money on foreign or luxury automobiles, lived in a middle-class neighborhood and lived well below his or her means. As a matter of fact, the author stated that the more luxury items a person had, the less likely he or she was to ever become millionaire.

The second read of this book proved just as eye-opening as the first for me. It put me in the mind of the fact that God has required that, as Christians, we be good stewards of the resources He has provided us with. This means your time, your talent and especially your money. Though we are advised 'Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal' (Matthew 6:19), we are also advised to make the most of our talents, as evidenced in the parable found in Matthew 25:14-30. To me this means, don't rely on money (and certainly don't love it), but use what you have wisely. Much of the Bible talks about loving and helping others, and while this of course includes acts of service, prayer and support, sometimes it also means cold, hard cash. And we can't be of much help to others if we can't help ourselves, now can we?

So, for anyone looking to improve their financial outlook and become a better steward of his or her money, I would highly recommend that you pick up this book.

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